Senior Library Assistant wins CILIP Student Prize for exceptional achievement

Newnham’s Senior Library Assistant, Eve Lacey, has won the inaugural CILIP Student Prize for her recent Masters in Library and Information Studies (LIS). This prize, awarded by the UK’s professional body of information practitioners, recognises exceptional achievement in the field.

Eve’s dissertation, on the use of the term ‘illegal aliens’ in classification schemes, was one of the highest marked in that academic year. Eve explains, “My dissertation was called ‘Aliens in the library: the classification of migration’. I chose the topic because I wanted to interrogate the political implications of library terminology, and to consider the challenge that the subject of migration poses to traditional classification schemes. My studies coincided with a news story that formed an ideal case study: the 2016 petition to change the subject heading of ‘Illegal aliens’ at the Library of Congress, the Library’s proposal to replace the term with ‘noncitizens’ and ‘unauthorized immigration’, and subsequent pressure from the House of Representatives to reinstate the original phrasing in order to match the terminology of federal laws.”

Her colleagues at Newnham, where she continued to work part-time alongside studying, provided ongoing support and inspiration during her Masters. Eve says “It required a bit of time management, but the combination was mutually beneficial: my workplace activities inspired coursework as much as lectures informed my professional practice. It helped that everyone at the College was very supportive of my studies, and encouraged me to share things I’d learnt on the course and make time to work on projects that would be helpful for academic experience.

One of the highlights, and the project that allowed me to combine a workplace project with coursework most effectively, involved gathering a collection of books donated to Newnham from the Women’s Library at the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. The provenance research I conducted while studying Historical Bibliography allowed me to reassemble a scattered collection and recreate the original donation in an exhibition.”

Eve’s thoughtful and research-informed contribution to the library team has allowed them to continue to deliver an outstanding service to our students, Fellows and visiting researchers. Many congratulations, Eve!

During her Masters at UCL, Eve was awarded both the Sir John MacAlister medal (for the most distinguished candidate) and the Mary Piggott prize (highest total mark for Cataloguing and Classification). Eve’s award will be featured in the upcoming edition of Information Professonal magazine.